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Shoah is an astonishing film on a number of levels, starting with its own existence -- a documentary on a subject so horrendous, and horrific, that few potential filmgoers really want to think much about it, or the events related within. But Jewish-French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann took the plunge, head-first into his subject, in the hope that the audience would follow for 570 minutes. And as it turned out, Lanzmann's extreme approach to filmmaking was precisely the correct one to take in dealing with his subject, the Nazi extermination of Europe's Jews from 1938 through 1945. At first,… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"With his 9 1/2-hour Shoah, Claude Lanzmann has accomplished the seemingly impossible: He has brought such beauty to his recounting of the horror of the Holocaust that he has made it accessible and comprehensible."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"[It] has transcended the cinema to become a primary record of the extermination of European Jews during the Second World War."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"Lanzmann`s monumental film bears significant witness to the Holocaust. Those who see it will never forget it."
‑ Candice Russell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"To see these places and events described by the voices and faces of those who lived through them is immensely important."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"'Shoah' is difficult to watch, but few other films match its consideration of unspeakable evil and indifference."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"By straightforwardly presenting interviews with people who lived through the Holocaust, Lanzmann makes it real again. Even more impressively, he helps us to see how the horror could have happened."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
"Why revisit "Shoah'' 25 years after it was first released? Because it matters more a quarter century on, just as it will matter even more in a hundred years, and 200, and - if it and we survive - a thousand."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"a magnificently disquieting experience--a harrowing descent into the depths of humanity's potential for unmitigated brutality, cruelty, and evil."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"takes to task largely accepted concepts of what is known, what can be imagined, and how people relate to Hitler's mass extermination with an unrivaled formal insight."
‑ Chris Cabin,
"The chief success of the to remove the Holocaust from its comfortably horrifying place in history, and restore a human face to the atrocities."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Shoah is the greatest use of film in motion picture history, taking movies to their highest moral value. For what director/interviewer Lanzmann has done on film is nothing less than revive history, a history so ugly that many would prefer to forget."
‑ Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
"the film's achievement is to show there are stories worth hearing, and ravaged, resilient faces that reward our scrutiny. The horror, the gallows humor, the shame and the heroism, the lessons of this holocaust -- and all others--have not been exhausted."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"It's brilliantly conceived; it's intolerable. It is the indispensable film of any year when it appears."
‑ Stuart Klawans, The Nation
"Viewing "Shoah" today proves that the Holocaust is not a discrete event, but rather an ongoing public narrative in which the movie continues to play a crucial part."
‑ Eric Kohn, indieWIRE
"In his seminal Holocaust documentary, which runs over 9 hours, Lanzmann doesn't use archival footage, only interviews with survivors and Nazi officers. He does something fascinating, placing his aggressive presence center-stage, not to be ignored."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
More reviews for Shoah on Rotten Tomatoes